Only Nine Soldiers Today


"Too many."

"Not so many. Not as many as a Sue Nami."

"Right sir. Who's Sue Nami?"

"That Asian girl. Killed all the Moslems in Sir Lanka."

"Right, sir. You are truly an ignoramus."

"Thank you Colin. You're a surprisingly un-bitter man, all things considered."

"No sir, I am very bitter. Very bitter indeed."

"You are? Cause of Sue Nami?"

"It's T-S-U-N-A-M-I sir, an underwater earthquake."

"Shit, Colin. I know that. I'm just trying to teach you an object lesson. You never have been too swift on picking up my object lessons, have you? That's why we have to let you go. Hey, don't fret. People used to think I was a little dense."

"Exactly what are you trying to teach me, boss? Because I've seen war. And I've seen assholes. Follow my lead?"

"Shit, you don't have a lead, Colin. You're a woman, a crybaby. I'm just saying that in the grand scheme of things, nine more bodies is a ridiculous thing to focus on. Sue Nami showed us that. Oh, excuse me, don't want to offend your delicate sensibilities. The T-S-U-N-A-M-I showed us that. We can lose ninety men, as long as it's over the course of a few days."

"It's over thirteen-hundred soldiers now. For what?"

"For what? You don't have a clue, do ya? It's better to be feared than respected. You never learned that? Rummy is right, the modern military is crap. Look into my eyes, Colin, listen to my voice. And watch my slinky."

"If I must, sir."

"Thirty thousand dead... Fifty thousand dead... Eighty thousand dead. One hundred and sixty thousand dead. Get the picture? God kills randomly. Our soldiers die for a purpose. And that's something you've never understood, the idea of bringing democracy to the Middle East. Now when I snap my fingers, you can wake up. One... two... three. Snapping here, big fellow."

"I've been awake all along."

"Numbers, Colin, nothing but numbers. You'll never grasp what we're trying to do here. Never in a million years."

"No sir, perhaps I won't."

"And that's why you're gone."

 

2005, Mark Hoback